Given the scale and class of Simphiwe Khonco’s IBO triumph on Saturday, Rodney Berman has already opened negotiations for a mega-fight down the line.
He has spoken to top South American fight against Marcelo Di Croce about getting Khonco in the mix for the IBF belt, held by Mexico’s Jose Argumedo.
Argumedo has a title defence against mandatory challenger Katsunari Takayama. If Argumedo wins, Khonco could be pitted against No-1 ranked Jose Jiminez of Colombia (who is fresh off an elimination bout win over Chao Zhong Xiong). He would then be propelled towards a title shot next February.
It would be the perfect sort of fight for Khonco who is at the stage of his career where he needs to cash in.
“I like Khonco. He’s very exciting and has shown great improvement under Colin Nathan,” said Berman.
Nathan himself was very pleased with his fighter’s performance, particularly as he followed the game plan to a tee: “Our plan wasn’t to lead, which is problematic against a counter-puncher like Siyo. He’s a good boxer, but he just wasn’t a Khonco’s level.”
On Saturday the Super Four cruiserweight final was also confirmed with Kevin Lerena and Micki Nielsen advancing to the October showdown.
Lerena marked himself a six out of 10 for performance, which was about right. He could have switched up his tactics and applied more pressure late in the fight, but he was always well in control and no doubt learned a few things against the shrewd Roberto Bolonti.
Nielsen’s power game was too much for Muller and he won on points. Although Nielsen dominated large chunks of the fight, Muller’s movement and combination punching exposed flaws in the Dane’s style. Lerena’s fast hands will be a factor, but he will have to tighten up his defence against an opponent who hits hard and might have stopped Muller but for his rock-solid chin.
So encouraged was Berman by Muller’s brave effort, he’s considering giving him an eight-rounder on Golden Gloves’ next tournament, Prospects at the Palace III, on July 24.
If not Muller, SA light-heavyweight champion Ryno Liebenberg may get a look-in.